tv U.S. Senate Toomey on Blocked Stimulus CSPAN March 23, 2020 10:07am-10:28am EDT
enter theus small business and e opportunity to make sure they survived so that the end of the day people can go back to work. that's what this is all about. and that's why i feel compelled to come to the floor. with that, mr. president, i would ask the absence of the court. >> mr. president, on her because i'm actually shocked at what happened on this floor a little while ago. -- i'm here because -- on going to try to convey to my colleagues a sense of the urgency that i think this moment demands, and they apparently don't understand because our democratic colleagues all voted to prevent us from considering this legislation. so let me start with the context that we are operating in, mr. president, because it's unbelievable. i wouldn't think i would need to go through this, but just to be
clear, we have been invaded by a potentially lethal species, a virus that is infecting americans now by the tens of day, it's killing americans, including in my state. we have infected people in every single one of our states, and the numbers are growing rapidly. in response to this threat, we have been taking progressively more serious measures because of the degree of the danger. the disaster, the illness, the death that we fear if we don't try to stop this virus. so we have gone to an extreme that i would just candidly acknowledge, i never could have imagined. what i'm talking about is among
other things, the fact that my state of pennsylvania, and many other states across america, they are closed. i could never imagine i could even put that since together, my state m is close. what does that even mean? i'll tell you what it means. it means it's not legal to operate a business -- it's not legal to go to work in the morning. tomorrow morning at 8:00. there's only a very small percentage of pennsylvanians or even allowed to go to work. we have shut down the state crime to talk about restaurants and bars and nightclubs. talking about all businesses except those deemed essential and a very small handful of others. talking about factories, distribution centers, warehouse warehouses, all kinds of producers, manufacturers, services across the board. it's closed. so what does that mean, mr.
president? well, it means an awful lot of things but the most important thing it means is that the guy who wakes up tomorrow morning and can't go to work, what's he supposed to do next house he going to support his family? he can't get -- it's not that he doesn't want to get a paycheck. it's not that he doesn't want to go to work. he's not allowed. he's not allowed. so he's going to have no income present because, guess what. the company that he works for is not allowed to have any sales. they are closed. by order of the government. and if such as pennsylvania. this is i think more than half of all of our states at this point, more than half of the country and the number is growing every day. so this guy, like, like almost
everybody across my state, men and women, are beside themselves. they are terrified because they know they still had to put food on the table. they still have to pay the rent or a mortgage. they still have to put clothing other kids. they solve all the ordinary expense of living and they're not allowed too earn a living because of the extreme measures we are taking to try to avoid an absolute catastrophe with this disease. so, mr. president, that's why so many of us in this body have worked so hard for several weeks now, but very, very intensively in his last few days to try to deal with this fact that we have a potentially lethal threat, and an economy that is disappearing. i mean, literally the bottom has fallen out. it is going away, and that is enormously devastating to the people we represent.
so we have quite sensibly said we need to focus on these individuals first, the men and women, the families that are, as i said, terrified and understandably. so what did we do? last week we passed a bill that went rightt at first and foremot the people most directly affected by this, paid medical leave at full salary for a couple of weeks. paid leave thereafter, paid family leave if you're looking after someone w who's affected y this cany include if it's your kids because they can't go to school because the schools are also closed. but that wasn't all we did. we also bumped up the federal share of our medicaid program, the pro can the pace for health care for low income and poor people. we increased the share that the federal government would payoo r that. we increase food stamps. i mean, we were trying to find ways, and we did and we passed it with an overwhelming bipartisan vote.
that's done. that was last week. but we recognize that that's not enough under the circumstances. because not only -- things keep getting worse. so we took up the bill that we put on the senate floor today. and this had a huge section, sections designed also to help these individuals, these families, these and women who, who just can't even go to work. one of the things we did was we made the unemployment insurance program much more generous. we dramatically increased the payments that you're able to get if you are unemployed because we realize there's going to be huge numbers of people who have, they are not legally allowed to be employed, in a way. so several hundred dollars a week more above and beyond was
already there, that's in this bill. that our democratic colleagues voted against. several hundred dollars of additional every week, payments to someone who's on the play. that's all we did for individuals. we recognized it's going to take a little while for those changes to work their way through the system, so we said what's the fastest thing we can do to get money in the hands of these folks, these poor folks were wondering how are they going to make the next car payment? and what we did is we said we will send a check in the money, that's were going to do, too low and middle income wage earners, a significant check. $1200 per person, per adult. adult. so a married couplepl would get $2400, plus $500 for any children they have. so a married couple with three kids living anywhere in america who are wage earners, who had middle w or low income, they get
$3900, $3900. that's the check the would be arriving at a couple of weeks. if thee check doesn't get there, let me just make it clear why. it's because our democratic colleagues voted no. they voted against sending a check. we thought that was important to get that in the hands of the people who needed it. but that's not all we didn't do we also felt like, you know, we don't really solve this problem until we defeat the virus. we've got a healthcare issue at the heart of this. we recognize that, and so with all kinds of provisions in this bill. and many of the provisions were prioritiesro of our democratic colleagues because this was a bipartisan process from the beginning. they know that. like the plan two boost unemployment insurance, and by the way notnc just the payments were increased but we expanded eligibility we made, , allowed people to qualify for an
insurance, unemployment insurance who in the past have nott qualified. people like self-employed folks who historically have never qualify for unemployment. under this bill the one that our democratic colleagues voted against, they would have qualified. but as i say, mr. president, we also focused on healthcare, and some other things, i mean, 20% increase virtual across-the-board for medicare payments to hospitals. hospitals arele in trouble. one of the recent hospitals are in trouble, they had to decide to discontinue elective procedures. sose those surgeries that you'd like to have but they're not absolute essential, they are not happening. that some hospitals pay the bills. those kinds of procedures. and they are not happening because the need to keep the beds available for a surge or potential surge if it should
happen in coronavirus victims. so we recognize 20% increase virtual across-the-board for medicare. bake expansion in telehealth. why is that important? so you can get the professional by she did without having to show an office and potentially in fact, a whole lot of other people. it's a no-brainer, right? a lot of money for some of the materials that we need to do the testing. test themselves. my name to create the swabs that are necessary to get the sample to run the test. free test, it's all in the bill, the bill that our democratic colleagues voted against. and that's not all. $75 billion or hospitals in other forms other than just, not just, but other than above and beyond the 20% the 20% increasn medicare. $75 billion. i can tell you c for sure every hospital in pennsylvania wants that, needs that. actually i know that's the case
for hospitals all across america but our democratic colleagues voted against. sending $75 billion to our hospitals at a moment when the desperately needed. $11 billion for vaccines. and treatment. look, this is the ultimate solution, right, when we have an ability to treat this virus so that if you're infected you're not really harmed because there's a medicine that will take care of it. that's, that's ultimately a really important goal. but we don't have that yet. we don't know what that is yet. we need to fund the research and medicine that a will turn this into a minor nuisance rather than a threat against our lives. and how about vaccines? one day we will have a vexing. i want that date really, really soon, and so we got $11 billion in this bill to accelerate the development of therapies and vaccines. that would be the bill that our democratic colleagues voted no on earlier today. $5 billion or fema disaster relief fund because they got all
kinds of expenses that they are incurring as they try to address this. $10 billion to keep our airports open because they are not getting the revenue that they normally get in the form of a tax that's on a ticket because no one is flying. there are no flights. there are no passengers. so there's no revenue but we need to keep those airports viable for the moment we can begin our restoration, our recovery. so we've got $10 billion. we we at $20 billion for public transit. i have been hearing from the folks who operate theli public transit across pennsylvania. they've got the same problem everyone else has in one form or another. they are hemorrhaging cash because they're tryinghe to pay the workers, but they don't have the revenue coming in. so we've got $20 billion to help out with the public transit, which is absolute essential in
our big cities but it's a vital all across our country. $20 billion. they voted against that. so we focus on individuals and families, first and foremost. we focus on what can we be doing -- everything we can, many ideas from our colleagues on the other side about how we can improve our ability to defeat this virus, and yet t there's another thing in this bill, the of the thing the bill is to make sure there's a job to go back to. for the men and women who wake up tomorrow morning and don't have a w job to go to win this finally passes. i think it would be i a good ida if a company that has been employing these folks still exists. now, how is that going to happen when they r are not allowed at o have any revenue? they are c closed. well, we have developed a plan in this bill to address this.
soso it's really kind of two components. for small businesses, there's a program that has the effect at the end of the day what it needs is a federal government will pay for payroll for small business. that's amazing when you think about that. no one has ever imagined this before. the federal government is going to pay for the payroll for small businesses as long as they keep their employees on the payroll. the mechanism is alone, which enable you to make the payments and then they don't have to pay back the loan as long as it did, in fact, keep their employees on the payroll. so we've offered in this bill to pay to keep people on the payroll of small business, and our democratic friends voted no. no, they didn't want that. now, for large businesses we took a different approach. we set all right, we can't actually pay for the entire payroll of the entire american
workforce, like 150 million people, but here's what we can do. a big company, if it's solvent come if it's a viable business, but it's in a cash crunch because, have i mention they are allowed to have sales? are not allowed to revenue. they have customers. in many cases that the good, in airlines, no one is flying. think of hotels. know what you staying in hotels. but it's all across the entire economy. we did is we sit if you have a viable business we will have a program where we're going to link to some short-term money. because this should not last n long. you are going to have to pay it all back, but we want to keep you alive, this employer, so that when this is behind us and when we no longer have statewide shutdowns and we were able to go work and go back to producing and living normally, it would be really nice if these
employers still exist. so that's what we created. the minority leader derisively call that a bailout. as he voted again, , to explain his vote against this. this is not a bailout. it's ridiculous to characterize this.ev first of all they have to pay back every time that they borrowed. every dime. it's explicit in the bill, in the law. that there can be no forgiveness, none of this can be written off.s the company is the part of this money have to pay back every dime. and let me stress, this is not their fault, okay? you are operating a business summer in pennsylvania and the governor says, by the way, close your doors at 8:00 monday morning and you don't reopen at him until i say. look, i'm not trying to attack by governor. i understand why he's doing this. but the point is, it's not possible for business to
survive. survive. and we are seeing this manifested, the sort of easy visual view on this that some of my colleagues have mentioned, financial markets because they reflect what the world thinks about the future ofan our econo. and it's really, really grim. some of suggested maybe we shouldn't focus on that. that's not the focus. that just gives us the reading of just how bad things have gotten, and it's really bad. and when my democratic colleagues came down and voted against all of these programs and all of these efforts to rescue american workers and families, advance our fight against this disease, and keep employers viable, i just, i am just shocked. i can't believe that they would do that, that they would come down here. and i can only conclude that
they don't understand the urgency of this moment. the -- i think they got to understand the nature of the disease, the severity of the disease, what that is doing. maybe there's a lack of appreciation for the fact that at the same time our economy is being destroyed, many of, if they continue this obstruction and they refuse to let us pass this because they dismissively refer to keeping alive alive employers as a bailout, then a lot of these companies will fail and they won't come back. you don't just flipha a switch d haveom a company that failed, tt went bankrupt and think you're going to turn it back on. doesn't work that way. it could take years or decades to rebuild an economy, and that means how many millions of americans lose out on so much opportunity, so much of life. that's what we can't let happen.
we've got to stop this as quickly as we can, and that means i'm convinced these three elements, focusing on individuals who are adversely that is and now virtually everybody. we've done that. then that massively, unprecedented scale in this bill. focus on killing this virus, defeating this. developing the therapies, pictures, the ability to treat, hospital capacity. it's in this bill. there will be more that needs to be done but now this is huge and we got these ideas from democrats and t republicans. we put themil in the bill. and finally, if it's a fundamentally solvent business,, just an extension of credit for a few months, a loan that they have to pay back so that there's a reasonable chance they will still be there. mr. president, this is exactly what this moment calls for. this is what we need to do for our country. so i am hoping that our democratic colleagues will
frankly, to their senses and conclude and understand that there is -- we have no time for games here. this is getting worse by the day. we got to act now. i hope before the clock strikes midnight tonight we will vote in favor of cloture on the motion to proceed, the procedural vote that allows us to pass this bill as soon as possible. >> here's a look at the final exchange of sunday nights senate session between majority leader mitch mcconnell and minority leader charles schumer. they talked about the next steps for the coronavirus economic relief package and when senator schumer raise an objection about the schedule, senator mcconnell had to change the start time for today's session with no agreement on when the next vote will be. >> majority leader. >> ask the quorum call be dispenseden